ANPK MiG has at last released the first photographs of MAPO's next-generation "Object 1.42" MFI (multifunktsionalny instrebitel or multifunction fighter).

The photograph shows the MFI's large all-moving canards which have a "dogtooth" on the leading edge; a large mid-mounted delta wing with a straight leading edge; and outwardly inclined fins which extend vertically beneath the wing plane. Large scoop-type air intakes are located under the nose.

The MFI's intended powerplants are two thrust-vectoring Lyulka AL-41s. The 30t-class airframe design, widely using composite materials, is claimed to have a low radar cross-section.

The Russian daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta quotes sources at MAPO as claiming that the fighter will have a high supersonic cruise speed without afterburners.

The intended weapons control system, originally designated NO-14, was to be based on a fifth-generation pulse-Doppler radar with electronic beam steering, capable of tracking more than 20 targets simultaneously.

But development of the system is thought to have been halted, and the aircraft does not appear to have a real radome. Reports claim the fighter has an internal weapons bay for better stealth performance, and an internally mounted 30mm gun.

Research work on the fighter began in the mid-1980s to meet the requirement that also launched the Sukhoi S-37 Berkut project. Technical drawings were completed in 1989, but, because of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the first prototype, Object 1.44, was rolled out only in 1994. That December, Mikoyan test pilot Roman Taskaev made high-speed ground runs at the LII flight test centre at Zhukovsky, but lack of financing has prevented flight testing.

The Nezavisimaya report quotes an estimated $70 million flyaway cost for the MFI, a sum that would preclude any purchase by the Russian air force, or even continued development. According to the newspaper, however, China is offering to finance further joint development and production.

The MFI's future may be decided this month, when it will be demonstrated to Russian deputy prime minister Yuri Maslyukov and defence minister Igor Sergeyev. The Russian Government may decide on a technology transfer deal or joint production, possibly involving India or China.

Source: Flight International